Tartlet Trouble? Peaches & Cream Goodness


Sick of bringing the same desserts to a dinner party or family function? Me too. I have the most simple solution: Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough. This stuff is great and so versatile. The recipe to follow can be molded to your liking, the possibilities are endless. (sounds cheesy, but it is true!)

Mini Peaches & Cream Tartlets
1 package sugar cookie dough (you know, the kind in the tube!)
4 ripe peaches small diced (I say ripe because if they are not they are hard and not sweet whatsoever)
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I am obsessed with this stuff)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
dash salt

Here we go…

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough in each mini muffin tin and bake until golden brown about 12-15 minutes. Immediately take the cookies out and press down in the center of the cookie to form a little cup. (I used the back of a wooden spoon, lets not use our hands and burn ourselves!)


Set the cups aside to cool.

In a medium sauté pan cook diced peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until peaches are tender and the sugar is cooked down to a syrupy consistency.


I then pureed my peaches so until the mixture resembled a chutney consistency. You will want to go ahead and chill this mixture for at least a half hour. Feel free to not puree them at all and use the diced peaches in the tartlets instead!

Now take the cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. You may want to add more sugar to your topping but I like the tangy contrast to the sweet peach filling. Fill the cooled cups and top with the cream cheese mixture.
See! They are so cute!

Low-Carb Crisis


I was craving spicy food tonight…bad…Anything with salsa really lets be honet. But with summer approaching i’d rather not have all those carbs. Tonight I may have eaten the low-carb lovers dream… We all love Spanish inspired dishes and burgers, well my Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers will satisfy those cravings!

Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup salsa (whichever you like)
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (feeling frisky? add more!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos (you know the kind you buy at the grocery store)
  • 4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • Chicken stock
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salsa and lime infused sour cream for garnish!

Combine all ingredients except pickled jalapenos and cream cheese. Mix these with your hands until well combined and form into 4 small burgers.

In a separate bowl, whip with an electric mixer the cream cheese and minced jalapenos until combined. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Indent each burger a bit and scoop a tablespoon sized ball of the cream cheese mixture inside. Cover the cream cheese with the surrounding burger mixture and re-form to a patty.

Sear these burgers over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for 3 minutes per side. Pour in about 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. This allows the meat to cook through without burning and lets the cream cheese become extra melted and gooey!

To Stuff or Not to Stuff?


Okay, I tried to make this dish as light as possible. Lets face it, sometimes on a Sunday morning you just need a big hearty breakfast. This Cream Cheese, Banana & Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast will always do the trick….Elvis would be proud.


Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast

  • 2 Slices Bread (not specific I know, but use whichever type you want, preferably NOT white bread because it will not hold up to the batter)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (feel free to use chunky if it floats your boat)
  • 1 ounce “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana (Unless you like the unripe taste…no thanks!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (usually heavy cream is used in some French toast batters, but it is not necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup dark brown sugar (as I have said before, it is so much better than light brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Non-Stick cooking spray as needed

Using an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter and cream cheese. Spread evenly between the two slices of bread. Slice the banana to desired thickness and put it on the bread as well. Make a sandwich with the two slices and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, cinnamon, dark brown sugar and pure vanilla extract until combined.

Spray a non-stick pan with the cooking spray and turn on medium-low heat. While the pan is heating up dip your sandwiches in the batter for about 5-10 seconds per side. (too long and your bread will fall apart) Sear the sandwiches until golden brown on each side and the batter is cooked about 3-4 minutes per side.

Drizzle the French toast with maple syrup and I topped mine with crispy crumbled bacon :-)

“Greek” Two Ways


Tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be one of the greatest American classic lunches of all time. It is comforting, satisfying and ultimately delicious. My tomato bisque gets a finish from “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt

Tomato Bisque

  • 2 28 oz. Cans of San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
  • 4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

*this soup will make more than enough for one, so freeze the remainder for another day!

Saute celery, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in olive oil until slightly softened. Add in the whole tomatoes and chicken stock. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Blend this mixture adding in the 4 oz. of cream cheese a little at a time. Return to the heat making sure to stir in any remaining cream cheese until melted.

Grilled Cheese

  • Non-stick cooking spray (trust me you don’t need the extra butter here!)
  • 1 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • 1 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of any thick cut bread (I used a whole grain loaf)

*I also added thin sliced tomato and turkey bacon to my grilled cheese! #unreal

Beat together with an electric mixer the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper until combined and fluffy. Spread this mixture evenly onto the bread. Spray a non-stick cooking pan with cooking spray generously. Sear the sandwich on both sides until golden brown. If the cheese mixture isn’t warm enough, pop it in an oven for a few minutes. This will only benefit the sandwich and make the cream cheese gooey and delicious.

The Great Greek Alfredo


Chicken broccoli and ziti and pasta primavera are just two of the many dishes that use an alfredo sauce. It is full of cream and overly heavy. Often times people mess this sauce up because of the roux needed to thicken the sauce or the over reduction of the heavy  cream. Forget the overly complicated techniques. A quick and painless way to a creamier  alfredo sauce is using “Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt.

As with most of my recipes, they are easy and home cook friendly. Feel free to adapt the flavorings and ingredients to fit your personal preferences like this Chicken Pasta Primavera Recipe. It is such an inexpensive dish that is always a family favorite.

Chicken Pasta Primavera

  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne (use which ever pasta shape you like, and the whole wheat adds a really nice nuttiness to this dish)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, small diced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock (this amount is varied depending on how much sauce you like!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces of “Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt (I say 4-6 because the more you put the thicker the sauce will get)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced (any variety of mushroom will do, i also love oyster mushrooms)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 bunch white or green asparagus, blanched
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested

I seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and some Italian seasoning. Feel free to play with the amounts on these :-)

Saute the chicken in olive on medium heat until the chicken starts to get some color. Season with salt and pepper. (always important to season as you go) Add in your onion, mushrooms and garlic. Continue to saute these until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms start to gain some golden brown color.

Add in remaining vegetables and season to your liking. Pour in your chicken stock and let this come to a boil and reduce by 1/4. Stir in your “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt until combined and creamy. Feel free to reduce this if you want a thicker sauce. The cream cheese addition is lighter than adding all that heavy cream, butter and cheese. The tang from the cream cheese also sets this dish apart. Finish by adding the lemon zest and immediately serve. (this way the vest stays bright and aromatic)

*Go ahead and use any vegetables you want. The star of this dish is the sauce and is complimentary to most any vegetables or meat.

Culinary Wonder: “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt


Guys… this product is just what the home cook has needed. The whole “low-fat” cream cheese which we all know, is not as tangy or smooth as the full fat version. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt is dare I say…better than any brand of full fat cream cheese out there today.

Let me tell you why. This product has that beloved tang that cream cheese gives you with an amazing creaminess that is provided from the Greek yogurt. Not only is this product a healthier alternative, the results with my baking and culinary endeavors have been just. that. good.

I will be using this product, testing it out in different savory and sweet recipes. Check back here! More to come…for now check out this excellent substitute for cream cheese frosting!

“Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt Frosting

  • 8 oz. whipped “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt (The whipped variety is extra fluffy and light!)
  • 4 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (feel free to omit, these can be pricey but are so yummy)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • honey to taste (I say to taste because you can always add but cannot subtract once its in the frosting! I started with a few tablespoons)

Start by using an electric mixer on medium speed beating the cream cheese and sour cream together. Whip until light and fluffy about 1 minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat till combined.

*this particular brand of cream cheese has lower calories, as does using light sour cream instead of butter. Honey is also a natural, healthier alternative to white sugar :-)

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I used this batch of frosting on a traditional yellow cake recipe that I lightened up with apple sauce and egg whites.(i know, i know skeptical….but just as tasty I promise)  I garnished the cake with fresh berries to resemble the American Flag, in lieu of the recent tragedies in Boston it is nice to show your patriotism!


Coconut Concoction


Whenever I go to a get together or a dinner party at a friends house, I always ask “what can I bring?” There are the typical store bought dips, cookies, brownies; yawn. -__-

With a little help from the store, and a touch of homemade cooking these treats can be made easily and inexpensively. I called them Toasted Coconut-Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Cups…My inspiration? I have been obsessing over this toasted coconut vanilla yogurt lately and have grown to love everything coconut flavored.

Cheesecake Cup Filling

  • 1 8 oz. package “Greek” cream cheese, softened (this stuff is amazing!!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 small box instant cheesecake pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (you can use whole milk if need be, but NOT non-fat, it will not set as firmly)
  • 1/2 cup prepared vanilla bean whipped cream, recipe follows (no vanilla beans no problem, use extract!)
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut (I used flaked sweetened coconut)

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream (the colder the better, this will make whipping the cream much easier)
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod scraped (can be omitted, as they are a bit pricey)

For the filling, prepare the cheesecake pudding as directed on box but only use the 1 1/2 cups of milk versus the two; set aside and chill for 20 minutes or until firmly set. (This allows for a thicker consistency)

Beat cream cheese with 1/4 cup white sugar until combined. Beat this mixture into the chilled cheesecake pudding just until combined. Fold in 1/2 the whipped cream until mixture is light, fluffy and consistent.

Whipped Cream

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until medium peaks are formed. Do not over work this or else you will wind up with butter.

To assemble:

I used phyllo dough and created cups in muffin tins easily. (by brushing melted butter in between the dough layers (about 4) and pressed into the muffin tins.)Don’t have the time to make your own? You can find these pre-made individual mini cups in most any grocery store. Feel free to also use a graham cracker crust base as well.

I garnished mine with more toasted coconut, graham cracker crumbs and some berries. Try them with pineapple! This is such a quick and easy take on cheesecake. All your guests will be asking for the recipe. :-)
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Blueberry Blunder


Trying to find something to do with those seasonal berries in the fridge? Always those lonely blueberries or random fruits that you know wont get eaten in time, but you have NO idea what to do with them.


Muffins & Cobbler. Two American Classic desserts that are underrated! They are so versatile and lend themselves easily to a wide variety of fruits. Here are two recipes that are not only easy but delicious. Both recipes use blueberries, however any berry would work perfectly for either recipe.

Berry Cobbler

  • 2 pints berries (I used a mixture of blackberries and blueberries) Dont have fresh? Use frozen, but increase the corn starch to 1/4 cup
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (can be omitted)
  • 1 package prepared sugar cookie dough (the kind in the rolled tube) Feel free to make your own cobbler topping but this works out so perfectly with a little help from the supermarket! :-)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss together all ingredients except the sugar cookie dough. Pour into a 13×9 greased glass baking pan. Crumble the sugar cookie to evenly across the top of the berry mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and the cookie topping is golden brown.

That’s it! It couldn’t be any easier.Take a peek at mine below which I served with vanilla bean whipped cream. Feel free to eat it with ice cream as well!
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Next up…

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (feel free to substitute whole wheat flour, but remember texture may vary slightly)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (don’t have any? use white or light brown)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (Greek yogurt or other flavors would work as well, have fun with this one!)
  • 1 cup blueberries (again, use any fruit! But if it is frozen, toss the blueberries in 1/4 cup of the flour to prevent turning your batter Smurf colored)

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line your muffin tins. (this recipe makes about 12)

Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Beat 6 tablespoons butter, egg, yogurt, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour yogurt mixture into flour mixture and mix until just combined; fold in blueberries. Scoop batter with an ice cream scoop and divide evenly between the 12 cups. I use the ice cream scoop so the muffins are more or less uniform and not a miss shaped mess!

Whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the 6 tablespoons of butter with a fork or pastry blender until this mixture is coarse and the butter is pea sized. Top each muffin with a generous layer of this crumb topping. (trust me, the more there is the better)

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. This will take about 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin cups for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

*For an added touch drizzle muffins with a lemon glaze. Just whisk some powdered sugar with the juice of one lemon until desired consistency. Drizzle this mixture using a fork or spoon in any manner you want. The lemon will go great with the berries and may cut some of the sweetness.

Check out mine…They were gone in minutes. Literally.
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Roasted Chicken Demystified


Roasted chicken can be one of those boring week night meals that everybody is sick of. Problem? They are not doing it right. I will teach you the easiest roasted chicken. The trick to a perfect bird is seasoning and cooking time.

Home cooks tend to take chicken out AT 165 degrees. Ding dong… it’s carry over cooking time calling.

Carry over cooking and resting any meat is essential to keep the it moist and let the juices rest. If cut the protein right away once pulled from the oven, all the juices will escape and you will have a dry product. Carry over cooking is the time when you pull the protein out of the oven until the time you cut it. There should be at LEAST a 5 minute resting period before you cut or serve your protein. Trust me on this… you will thank me. #yourewelcome.


Here’s what you will need to create the perfect roast chicken:

  • 1 5 lb. Chicken (patted dry…this will help create a crispy skin)
  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened (This will make massaging the bird easy)
  • 3 Sprigs Sage, picked
  • 1 Small bunch Thyme, picked
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, picked
  • 1 Lemon, zested THEN sliced
  • Salt and Pepper


Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pat the bird dry and season generously with salt and pepper. I mean get in there, season the wings, the legs, the breast, the underside and even the cavity.

In a food processor,combine the stick of softened butter, herbs and lemon zest. Pulse this mixture until combined. Take a few slices of lemon and shove them under the skin of the breast. Now take a few more and shove them into the cavity of the chicken.

Step 2:

Massaging time! Rub the compound butter all over the chicken to make an even layer of butter. This will not only help with the flavor but also the crispiness of the skin. (after all who doesn’t like a crispy skin?)

Place in the oven on a wire rack with a baking pan under neath. If you do not have either of these place the chicken directly on a cookie sheet (not the underside of the chicken prepare this way will not be as crispy…but equally tasty) Cook the chicken at 375 for 1 hour, then turn the oven up to 400-425 for an additional hour. Pull the chicken just after 2 hours and let rest for 10 minutes.


Take a look at the end result….notice the skin golden brown and crispy, the herbs and the lemon under the skin make for an unreal roasted chicken experience.


Copy That: Cheez Its


One of my favorite snack crackers are Cheez Its. I love the cheesy, salty taste and the crisp bite. Lets be honest, I could eat the entire box in one sitting….don’t judge me. Last year while I was making a pre fixe menu for Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, I created a smoked tomato bisque. I wanted a functional garnish and right away thought cracker……but what kind? Cheez Its! My inspiration was a grilled cheese and tomato soup but more refined. The outcome was a smoky, creamy, salty soup with a crisp cheddar cracker almost identical to the beloved Cheez Its! Give them a try! You will not be disappointed. :-)



  • 1 cup all purpose flour (feel free to use wheat flour for a healthier snack)
  • 1/2 stick cold butter (this needs to be cold to create the flaky crunchy texture you know and love with these tasty crackers)
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar (use orange to mimic the color as well!)
  • 1/2 tsp. piment d’ espellete (mild spice, feel free to substitute 1/8 tsp. cayenne)
  • Ice Water (this helps bring the dough together…more or less depending on the dough’s consistency)
  • Salt to taste, approximately 1/2 tsp.
  • Smoked Sea Salt for garnish (the smoked salt really makes these special, but feel free to use a salt of your liking)

Step 1:

Combine all ingredients in food processor, except the ice water. Pulse the ingredients until the butter is broken down into pea size balls (Think pie dough) Slowly stream in a little ice water at a time until the dough forms a uniform ball.

Take the ball out of the processor and let chill for 1 hour.

Step 2:

Take out the cracker dough from the fridge and roll out to desired consistency. I used a fluted cutter and also poked a hole in the center of the cracker to really resemble the traditional look of the Cheez It. I sprayed the crackers with a touch of water and sprinkled a touch of smoked salt on top. Bake the snack crackers at 350 degrees until lightly golden brown and puffed up. Let cool and enjoy!


***Tip: These crackers are best eaten the day of…..which shouldn’t be a problem considering how delicious they are! Take a peek at mine below.